My Favourite Things- 10/12/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…there is just something about fall that is stunning and exciting. Even though I am going to miss the warm weather and the sunshine, the fall colours and ‘coziness’ of fall is lovely. The trees this week are turning so many warm hues of gold, deep merlot, red, green, and rust. It’s an experience in itself to walk or take a drive along the back roads.

weather….it’s almost like a light switch went off the first day of fall and ever since we have had only two days that were around 20 degrees to experience a bit of summer still. It’s been cool, breezy, cloudy…all the things fall. We were sad to close our pool early this year simply because the weather has been so cool. Nicole and my Aunt have swam up until October 15 a couple of years ago and this year, we closed it before the end of September. 

watching…we have been taking in episodes of Virgin River when we have time to sit and take in any television these days. When we aren’t watching a series, and we just need something quick to disconnect and watch, often times we end up with House Hunters, Island of Bryan, Top Chef or some house renovation show. Who else loves a good before and after?

listening to… The Record Keeper by Charles Martin. This is a third book in a trilogy by one of my favourite authors. A great story teller I would highly recommend. I also have to say this has helped me extend my walking goal many days. Here is a link to purchasing the book.

eating…Nicole made a big feast on the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving. I have to say I think one of the best parts of the weekend are the leftovers. We have enjoyed ‘all the things’ and continue to do so. A selfish plug for Costco and their pumpkin pies. Nicole has offered to make one but for the price, the size and the taste of these, I tell her it’s not worth her time but I do appreciate it!

working…with the market and the change in interest rates, the level of activity has dropped significantly. It’s frustrating and stressful for so many people but I do encourage anyone that I talk to about it that the market is just in a low right now and it will recover. We can’t have strong markets all the time unfortunately. We have to trust the Lord that He is in control and that He is faithful. The Lord always provides in the right time so we lean not on our own understanding; He will direct our steps. I hope you will find encouragement in that today.

renovations…I have been working hard on our renovations. The slow down in the market has given me the ability to focus some of my time on sanding, tearing out walls, bathroom fixtures, flooring…you name it, I’ve been destroying, cleaning and trying to prep the house to put it back together again! I am grateful to be able to work with my hands to invest in our future. It’s going to be a stunning home!

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My Favourite Things- 08/17/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…we celebrated Zelli’s fourth birthday this week. It’s hard to believe she’s been the life of the party for four years. Anyone who is considering a puppy should set aside a few years of time to have them get settled in and for you to be trained! She definitely keeps us on our toes and is a great walking partner. I can tell you we have both put on a lot of miles together and I am grateful for that.

weather….as I type this post, we are experiencing a unique summer thunderstorm. It’s been thundering for over an hour and then the clouds opened up and rain and even hail came down. Grateful for the rain but the hail can move along! It’s been an unseasonably cooler summer I would suggest. The daytime temperatures have been lovely with the sun shining but it’s been cool overnight and I typically bring a sweatshirt to start my walks in the morning.  

watching…Virgin River on Netfllix has sort of been our ‘go to’ evening series. It’s a bit ‘hallmark’ movie for Nicole but we have made it through 5 episodes and doing okay so far. Exciting to also hear ‘the Amazing Race’ ventured through London, Ontario in their series which we look forward to watching this week. It’s a reality show we definitely enjoy watching together.

listening to… Alone on the Ice by David Roberts is the book I am currently listening to. It’s a decent book, more of a documentary style book talking about Antarctic exploration in the early 1900s. It’s not for everyone but I have enjoyed learning some of the more specific details about this time period.

eating…Nicole ventured into a new instant pot or Pampered Chef quick cooker recipe this week and even though she couldn’t enjoy it I certainly did! She said it was an easy recipe that you pop all the ingredients into the pot, set the timer and shortly after the whole dinner is ready. We top it with shredded cheese, salsa, avocado pieces and tortilla chips. Instant Pot Mexican Chicken Rice

working…I have to say I don’t recall the real estate market being as unsteady as it has been the past few months. 2022 has been a year that I don’t particularly wish to repeat again for the level of stress and unknowns. I attended an Economic Outlook conference this afternoon with Royal Bank of Canada and overall financial forecasters are optimistic that the market will level off in the end of 2022. I do feel that the ‘news’ and social media has created a lot of fear in home buyers to the point that the market has stalled.

renovations…It’s exciting to include this in my list of favourite things right now since we purchased another home. I’ve been busy in my spare time painting the family room in the basement. We used pale oak by Benjamin Moore and we are quite happy with it. It’s a warm and modern greige and complements the berber carpet well. Nicole was busy on the weekend sanding the stair spindles which was a lot of work. Then we decided to rip up the carpet and I removed the carpet tac and Nicole started to remove the underpad staples. It’s a job that’s for sure but grateful we can do it together and invest in our future. Zelli quite likes it as well since she gets to play ball while we are situated on the ground the whole time.

Completed paint job in the basement!
Congratulations to the Aylmer Employment Services team on the grand opening of their new office. I attended their open house and was able to learn more about the depth of their offerings. You must check them out!
All Hands on Deck is an annual event that myFM 94.1 partners with local businesses to collect donations for back to school. I enjoyed going through Miller’s Your Independent Grocer and picking out my school lunch favourites in hopes someone else will enjoy them. I could have been shopping for hours but it was fun just the same!
The Birthday girl did okay at doggy day care today! She loves going to J&K Dog Care, Jamie and Brooklyn are amazing to her…as you can see in the photo!

Reasons why Real Estate agents are Underappreciated

I read an interesting article this week about the five reasons why real estate agents are underappreciated. It resonated with me as I am now heading into my 36th year of being a real estate broker.

Here were a few of my takeaways.

The Internet makes it seem easy…aside from access to all of the details which so many people can obtain, a real estate agent still has to manage the finer details, navigate the onslaught of inquiries, provide timely service and then there is still getting the deal to happen and come together. There is intense negotiations that often happen and being available 24/7 is integral to the success. There are many times throughout the year, I can feel overwhelmed and burned out when the market is intense.

A lot of what we do happens behind the scenes. If I were to hand over my mobile phone right now you would see about 20 different conversations happening whether it’s between other agents, home owners or home buyers. Being accessible is important as there are always many other agents waiting on the sidelines ready to jump if you aren’t quick to respond. Sadly, the industry has become immediate gratification and instant information which can make it tough juggling many deals at once. In my opinion, real estate is more than just buying and selling homes, it’s creating relationships that are long term and solidifying a trusting friendship so that when someone is ready to jump into the real estate market, I hope they will think of the great foundation we have created over the years. Not only that but they can trust me and have confidence that I am active and immersed in the market and community.

Finally, the last one that stuck out to me was, we’re going through the same stress you are going through! If you have ever bought or sold real estate before, you know that it’s a stressful decision the moment you decide to take that first step. I’d like to think that one of the key reasons why I work well with my client’s is because I do understand the journey they are on and how emotional and stressful it can be. At any given time, I can be working with multiple people in the same situation and yes there are times that I lose sleep or think about their deal from morning to night but that is where my faith comes in.

If 2022 has taught me anything, it’s to know that no matter the ups or downs, God is faithful…always has been and always will be even if I don’t understand the current situation. I am still a work in progress on not letting doubt or fear step in but my strong faith is what helps me to guide and encourage my client’s through the market. One thing you will take comfort in that there are a lot of prayers being said for each and every client that I have the opportunity to work with, past and present. I know that is the best thing my wife and I can do to walk this real estate journey together. Take the leap of faith and join us if you are thinking of buying and selling!

My Favourite Things- 06/20/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…as you will read below, Zelli and I have had some drenched moments on our walks but what I want to highlight here is how amazing our small town community is. In the past two weeks while out for our walks, I have had two lovely and generous people offer an umbrella to me as I stand waiting for a ride in the rain. A big thank you to Marjorie Rimnyak and Madeline Sobry for their kindness. One didn’t realize who I was until I was closer to her which shows just how kind people are in our community even to strangers turned friends. We are a community that truly cares and this is a rare treasure for many.

weather….you really learn to appreciate the cooler temperatures during the summer heat.  Though we are just celebrating the first of summer, we had a few days of extreme heat and then dropped right off to cool days and nights.  To put it into perspective, it was 13 overnight last night, sitting at 19 during the day today and tomorrow it is to be a high of 31 and feel like 40. It’s amazing how much the weather determines a lot of how we feel and what we do in a day.  We do live in Canada where the weather can be very unpredictable so we learn to enjoy it no matter what!   

watching…we recently started watching some of the shows on Magnolia Network.  As you know, Nicole and I enjoy renovations and house projects but we were feeling it was time to see what other networks were offering as we felt a bit exhausted by the typical HGTV shows. We have watched a few of the “Restored” episodes and were quite impressed with the writing and production. They work hard to keep the integrity of the restoration and are upfront and honest about the budget items.  I find often times what they are budgeting for a specific items is not attainably reasonable for many (especially in Canada with the higher dollar).

listening to… The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin. I have read almost every book of this author and would highly recommend them.  I enjoy listening to his work as it keeps my attention and always has a great storyline. The next one of his that I will be reading is “Maggie.” I will report back on that next week hopefully!  

eating…We sort of went on a taco salad spree!  I know that sounds hard to believe but it’s been so delicious!  Nicole makes a homemade spice blend, adds some extra chill flakes and some salsa to the blend and it’s so good.  What are your favourite toppings for your taco salad?  I’m pretty standard with my chips, salsa, cheese but I do enjoy avocado and homemade beans on top.  With the warmer weather here, a cooler meal with some spice is just what we need.

working…Looking back over the past three months, I can’t remember the last time that real estate has been consistently busy but not much to really show for it.  It’s frustrating but I am grateful to be busy and have amazing clients to work with.  The market has definitely slowed down but there are those looking for housing who have been sitting on the fence for the past few years. With higher internet rates, they predict people will be looking to move again soon.  I am here to help!

outdoors…In the last three weeks alone, I think Nicole has rescued Zelli and I on our walks in a thunderstorm or downpour.  One day it was twice within an hour.  You all know I love to walk so when you have the time you get out there and enjoy it regardless of a few rain drops but when it starts to pour and thunder….you shelter where you can and send an SOS text to your wife!

My Favourite Things- 06/04/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…I’ve been spending a bit more time playing ball with Zelli in the yard the past few weeks with the warmer weather. Nicole has been busy with work so I’ve enjoyed being outside and vacuuming the pool while Zelli speeds past for her ball.  I’ve also been loving the warmer temperatures but with it also come spring breezes and rain to freshen things up.  I’m often reminded that every season has it’s gratitude no matter what.

listening to… This past month I listened to five books while on my daily walks and came to the end of my listening allotment before the end of the month so I had to shift gears and actually listen to music! Now that June is here, I am currently listening to ’The Letter Keeper’ by Charles Martin.  Five stars so far!

eating…With June comes fresh, local strawberries!  Some of our favourite places to pick up berries are Fehr Grown Farms and Howe Family Farms.  There is nothing like local produce in the warmer months.  We are so grateful to have local producers that pour into their harvest.  We had two potlucks that we needed something quick and easy for this past week.  Since Nicole can’t really eat at these functions and we were so busy with work and life, we decided to do something simple.  I however was able to enjoy them and would highly recommend them for a great dessert for a crowd!

working…After my last post and talking about the struggles of the real estate market I am elated and pleased to report that clients I have been working with for almost a year have now purchased their next home and sold their existing home in Tillsonburg.    One of the unique aspects I find about Tillsonburg are the mid-century homes and more estate size lots. The larger lots definitely has a draw for people and doesn’t make you feel like you are stuck in sub-division communities. To say this real estate market is a roller coaster ride is an understatement. I see it shifting more each week into a buyers market from it being a sellers market for a few years now.  It takes a great deal of perseverance and dedication to get through it on the buying and selling side. Prices seem to be leveling off however they are still substantial selling prices when you look back even two years ago. I have also spent some time in the Dorchester community this past week showing properties. Dorchester is a quaint community with many residential pockets.  It would be nice to see in the next 10 years more commercial offerings for this bedroom community. I understand many work in the London or surrounding area but to have more commercial access and small businesses I think would develop the community even further.

outdoors… The trees have now fully opened up and the spring green is here.  This is one of my favourite parts about spring in that everything is bright green and lush.  Our tulip tree that we have enjoyed over the years already has three tulip flowers blossomed on it.  Last year we had hundreds of blossoms and because it is over the pool, we are hoping this year we have far less blossoms to then drop into the pool.

news…Nicole and I have been busy working for Elections Ontario. Each election we work together hiring the multitudes of poll workers. This is a monstrous job and takes a lot of time and hard work.  I am grateful that we can work together and support one another through this 6 week process. I am pleased to report we are now finished and able to shift our focus to renovations on the new home and moving while still trying to enjoy your current home.

My Favourite Things- 05/14/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…sunshine and more sunshine. This past week has been beautiful weather and hopefully a taste of what is to come. Along with sunshine comes mowing the grass!  We are grateful to have a neighbour that pitches in and does a portion of our lawn.  Having great neighbours is invaluable! 

watching…with everything going on, there has been no time to watch TV.

listening to… ‘the Diamond Eye’, by Kate Quinn; I’ve read a number of hers and have raved about her books to others.  It’s very well written and keeps me intrigued and stepping on my walks!  

eating…I have to say with Nicole and I both working many hours with the election office in addition to our existing jobs, our menu has been lack lustre this week.  I think one nice thing about spring and summer is the access to more fruits so I have been enjoying fresh fruit salads this week while at work.  Everything just tastes sweeter!

working…It’s been quite the week but I have to say at the end of it, I am pleased with my progress this week.  I have one couple who have persevered for almost 8 months looking at houses, falling in love, writing offers and then to be told their offer wasn’t accepted.  It’s been a hard battle on myself but very much so for buyers.  I am over the moon to share that they were able to secure an accepted offer on a beautiful home in Tillsonburg! Now the next phase begins as we quickly put their existing home on the market. They have done a great deal of work to their home in Hickory Hills, Tillsonburg; so many updates.  I’ve also been doing quite a few showings in St. Thomas, and off to Port Stanley tomorrow.  I do love what I do and happy to work with a variety of clients.

outdoors… I’ve been loving my early morning walks when the temperatures are cooler and the sunshine is filtering through the trees. Zelli appreciates an early walk as well. She’s the first to gallop off of the bed and scamper to the door ready to go.  The temperatures this week have been near 30 which is unreal for spring and I am hopeful that we didn’t jump right over it as the heat can be hard on a lot of people, crops and animals.  We still need the rain despite our love for sunshine!

news…so on a more personal news added to everything else going on, Nicole and I have listed our house for sale.  It’s times like these that I am reminded continually about the emotional and physical work that my sellers put into this season of life. It’s been a wild week of showings, cleaning, communication, cutting the lawn and trusting the process.  These are the times our faith is most needed.  Nicole and I both know in our hearts that despite this being extremely emotional and a difficult decision that we are in His hands.  Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  Though we don’t know what is to come on this journey, we believe this is part of God’s plan for our life and that a new season is ahead. 

My Favourite Things- 05/01/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…Happy May! The excitement that comes with a new month pales in comparison to the excitement for warmer days ahead. April was a cooler month and we didn’t see a whole lot of sunshine. Though we did have a few really warm days, they felt like teasers to what was to come. With the warmer weather, I have been loving watching the birds come back to the trees and enjoy listening to them sing their song. We are grateful to live near an Audubon park so we hear and see so many different birds.

watching…We haven’t had much time to watch television the past few weeks because real estate has been very busy and to get my daily quota of steps in, I feel like my time is full of ‘doing’ so many different things. Nicole and I always find that as the weather warms up, we are less in front of the tv which is a blessing since there are so many other things to enjoy!

listening to… I just started another Charles Martin book entitled, “A Life Interrupted.” So far it’s intriguing and almost to the point where I don’t want to stop my walking because I want to know what is to come!

eating…As usual, Nicole tried a new recipe this past week and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! I have to say I was a bit skeptical when she was roasting mushrooms because that is a food I am not a fan of. But I am learning to trust the process and I have to say it was a keeper. This Slow Roasted Mushroom Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas was a five star meal. It has all the flavour and textures you would want in a main course meal.

working…I have to say this past week was a tough one. The real estate market can make you feel like you are in a boxing match and not a winning one. I have multiple clients right now that are looking for their forever home and it’s tough. It’s rough on them and their morale but it’s also emotionally difficult on me as well. I work hard to find homes to show them, go through the details of the home, inquire on more information about the home, work with them to decide if this is the one…then we write, go through the offer, submit it and wait. The wait is unnerving and that is usually when I walk. To hear for your client that you were outbid yet again and the vision of them moving into that home is lost, it’s heartbreaking. It’s overwhelming to try to keep up with the market and keep all of my clients on board and happy all the while knowing that it’s a rough road out there. I am grateful for clients who continue to persevere and not give up. I will not either!

outdoors…I had the privilege of showing houses again in Port Stanley. The view you will see below is spectacular. Definitely a place I enjoy showing properties and visiting. I encourage everyone to get outdoors and see what life has to offer close by. In Aylmer, I have enjoyed walking through the parks, through the East Elgin Community Complex area, through our downtown and checking out the spring growth.

Zelli and I love walking through the Aylmer Healing Garden. Thanks to all of the volunteers that have worked so hard to beautify this space. I will share photos next week of their progress!

My Favourite Things- 03/31/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…Spring is finally feeling like it’s here. Though mother nature keeps us on our toes with the random snow fall, the days are starting to be filled with sunshine and warmth. The squirrels seem quite happy along with the birds and we are finally seeing buds on a few of the trees. Soon, it will be time for yard work but that is for another day!

watching…Nicole and I have been watching ’The Crown’. We are loving that this is a dramatic series with historical details and intriguing story lines intertwined. We would highly recommend it. We are in season two which is always comforting to know that you have a few seasons of drama ahead of you!

listening to…I was disappointed when this book ended. You know those books that you wish would just keep on going- this was it. I encourage you to listen to ‘The Fifth Column’ by Andrew Gross. If you like WW2 era espionage, this will keep you intrigued.

eating…Nicole tried a few new recipes and they were both a hit. My favourite was this Easy Ravioli Lasagna Casserole. Even though Nicole couldn’t eat it, she was a team player and made it for me and to deliver to others to enjoy. If you are looking for a deconstructed way of enjoying lasagna, this is a hit!

loving…two weeks ago, Nicole and I escaped our work for a day to go and drive the new VW id4. I have to say it surpassed our expectations. The smooth ride, quick pickup, unique styling and of course the quiet lull of an electric car which we love. Demand is high right now and they have setbacks with production because of the economy so we will try to be patient.

working…well as usual, the market is driving me all over the area. I’ve showed properties in Tillsonburg, Sarnia, St. Thomas, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Dorchester and points in between. It’s been a frustrating real estate market for buyers when the asking price is within their range but their hopes are shattered when it goes a few hundred thousand over asking. A good market for sellers but chaos for buyers. As they forecast a hike in interest rates, I’m not sure how that will effect the real estate market or accomplish what they are hoping to soften things a bit. Time will tell!

outdoors…with the change in weather, it’s been lovely to get back outside for my daily walks. The beauty of living in town is you can easily walk to most things so I have been walking to the office when I can. Only twice have I needed a ride because of a down pour and not planning ahead for an umbrella! There is something about spring that puts a little pep in your step!

My Favourite Things- 02/27/2022

Things I’m excited to share with you, loving and showcasing this week!

loving…We are now almost into March and loving the change of season.  Feeling optimistic that warmer weather is on the horizon.  Amazing that in less than a week we are starting to hear birds singing in the morning and watching the Canada Geese arrive.  

watching…Nicole and I have been watching ’This is Us’ and catching up on the stories. We are always amazed at the depth of the storyline and quality of sets between decades.  Kudos to the writers.

listening to…this week I started listening to ‘Chasing Fireflies’ by Charles Martin.  I highly recommend this book.  I have enjoyed listening while I am stepping!

eating…this week I hit Farm Boy which I end up visiting maybe once a month as a treat when I am in London.  Nicole and I have enjoyed their Chickpea chips and hummus.  Never thought I would speak those words but I feel I am coming to the darker side-shhh!  Nicole made a delicious gluten free carrot cake we hadn’t had before and shared it with family members.  It was a success!

loving…two weeks ago, I purchased my new Apple Watch 7.  It’s taken me a few days to get used to the apps but hardest thing for me seems to be wearing the watch! I haven’t worn a watch in over 10 years so I am always forgetting to check it for the time or pick it up from the charger before I leave.

working…this week, real estate took me to Tillsonburg and the Aylmer area.  The real estate market is unlike any market before.  I know every few months I keep saying that and I am genuinely astonished the next quarter when it just keeps getting even more unpredictable.  I hope people do not get discouraged by the quick market, I would love to chat with anyone that is interested and I can offer some guidance on how to prepare and what to do ahead of time.  Aylmer real estate has high demand right now because supply is low.  

outdoors…I hit the great outdoors for a walk this past week on a beautiful sunny day.  I have been walking indoors lately because of the ice and snow.  Makes for a tiring and stressful walk when you are continuously looking at your feet.  I took our usual tour through Sinclair Crescent, over to the East Elgin Community Complex and down toward Immanuel Christian School, Davenport and by East Elgin Secondary School.  I did a big loop of the area and ventured back.  Zelli enjoyed the walk as well and then came home to play ball on the hill with Nicole.  No tiring her out!